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Keywords:

  • aminopeptidase;
  • ectoenzyme;
  • natural inhibitor;
  • synthetic inhibitor;
  • bestatin;
  • cancer;
  • inflammation

Abstract

Aminopeptidase N (APN)/CD13 (EC 3.4.11.2) is a transmembrane protease present in a wide variety of human tissues and cell types (endothelial, epithelial, fibroblast, leukocyte). APN/CD13 expression is dysregulated in inflammatory diseases and in cancers (solid and hematologic tumors). APN/CD13 serves as a receptor for coronaviruses. Natural and synthetic inhibitors of APN activity have been characterized. These inhibitors have revealed that APN is able to modulate bioactive peptide responses (pain management, vasopressin release) and to influence immune functions and major biological events (cell proliferation, secretion, invasion, angiogenesis). Therefore, inhibition of APN/CD13 may lead to the development of anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory drugs. This review provides an update on the biological and pharmacological profiles of known natural and synthetic APN inhibitors. Current status on their potential use as therapeutic agents is discussed with regard to toxicity and specificity. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Med Res Rev